like auto dealerships. They rarely have the
one you want sitting there on the lot waiting
for you to write a big check in a steady hand,
climb in, and fly away. On the contrary, after
I signed on the dotted line I wouldn't take
possession for eight months, which gave me
plenty of time to decide how to make the old
didn't make much sense.
phens Construction politely offered to do the
job for a whopping $339,000. I could blacktop
around the two existing hangars that were
located about halfway down the runway for
$196,000, but I didn't want to do that. Those
hangars, it turns out, would be flattened by
the new jet runway, so any paving was a waste
of money. Subsequently, I received a slightly
less painful bid from FT Woods Construction
cation and finding it meant tearing up a large
section of the runway and taxiway. Why pave
it if I just had to tear it up in the near future?
disappear, much of the money spent on pav-
ing would be lost forever. The new jet runway
we had in mind ran directly across the old
runway, which meant tearing up a good 1,000
feet or more of the old, freshly blacktopped
airstrip in a few months.
With little hesitation I selected FT Woods
check, and asked them to start immediately.
what I was paying for. In contractor language
that meant without using lime and other addi-
tives to stabilize the soil and without laying in
a solid base of compacted crushed limestone
and applying a layer of hot mixed asphaltic
concrete paving the runway would eventually
crack and heave. This extra care came at a
cost and one I wasn't willing to pay, even if it
was all true. With a straight face, I asked the
contractor to give me the quarter-million-dol-
lar version, the one in his bid, and we'd call it
good. Grade it, lay a base of rock to fill in the
holes, and lay down an inch or two of asphalt.
Photo courtesy of David Hannah III.